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Canada bans Huawei and ZTE from its cellular network. Here’s why.

The Internet is the common thread that helps people and organizations around the world stay connected every day. Sometimes, however, tech companies find themselves bearing the brunt of government bans in Western countries — some more than others.

This is what Huawei and ZTE are currently facing when Canada has restricted the two companies from operating in Canadian territory. But why are they banning these Chinese telecom companies? Let’s find out.

Canada bans Huawei and ZTE

Laptop and Huawei phone on a wooden table

Canada has announced that it will ban Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE from their 5G networks. Canadian companies have until 2024 to phase out any Huawei and ZTE 4G and 5G equipment and services, while they must pull LTE equipment from those same companies in 2027.

Canadian Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne made the announcement on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at a press conference in the capital, Ottawa.

Why Canada bans Huawei and ZTE

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Canada wants its citizens to have access to the best mobile internet infrastructure, which is 5G. Which makes sense, since 5G brings faster internet speeds and better connectivity.

However, Canada also wants to improve the security of its mobile internet service industry, which explains why it gave Huawei and ZTE the boot.

In his announcement, Champagne cited safety and security reasons. This comes after the Canadian government posted a blog post about 5G in regards to public safety on its website in 2019. As seen in the post:

The high level of interconnectedness and complexity of 5G networks means that exploits of vulnerabilities by malicious actors will be more difficult to protect against, and incidents will have a broader impact than in previous generations of wireless technology.

The publication stated that 5G “will become a critical component of Canada’s critical infrastructure over the next few years.”

It’s not surprising that Canada would want to improve its mobile internet infrastructure, given that the country has seen a rise in demand for streaming services over the years. For example, Statista shows that 56% of Canadians stream more video content as of 2017.

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This is not the first time that major Chinese telecom companies have been targeted by Western governments over security concerns. In 2021, the United States banned China Telecom and China Unicom from providing their services in the country.

It has also barred the FCC from awarding communications equipment licenses to Chinese companies it deems a threat. Huawei itself was placed on a list of US trade restrictions in 2019, crippling its ability to produce mobile devices.

Therefore, Canada joins its Western allies in banning Huawei from using its 5G network. Canada is part of the Five Eyes Alliance, an intelligence alliance that also includes the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. It was the only country in the coalition that had not yet banned the use of Huawei equipment, so it was only a matter of time before it followed suit.

While Chinese phones can be inexpensive, they do come with privacy concerns that would require governments to step in to address them for the sake of state security.

Who Will Be Affected By Huawei And LTE Bans In Canada?

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This move will somewhat affect mobile Internet users. If you care about your privacy, you probably shouldn’t buy Huawei phones. Consider buying smartphones from other trusted brands instead. Your best bet would be to invest in smartphones that are better for privacy and security.

However, it is the companies that will feel the brunt of this ban. Companies that use Huawei and ZTE equipment and services must stop using them completely, remove the installed equipment, and replace it with alternatives.

Will Huawei survive in the long run?

Huawei’s ban from many western countries continues to cripple its ability to operate in the western world. It’s hard to imagine that the household brand that gave people access to a cheaper smartphone could be forgotten in the future.

But that’s understandable, given the security concerns surrounding Huawei equipment and services. With that said, we can’t help but wonder how long he’ll last and if he’ll be able to bounce back with a new strategy to help him stay afloat.